2013 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Xavier Rhodes

Xavier Rhodes is the furthest thing from your ordinary cornerback. The twenty-two year old product hailing from Miami, Florida possesses an impressive collection of tools, which truly set him apart from other prospects in the profound 2013 draft class.

BACKGROUND

Rhodes formerly attended Miami Norland high school, where he was recruited by Florida State in 2009. During his senior year with the Vikings, he impressively led the team in rushing and receiving, and racked up a total of one thousand all-purpose yards. Rhodes dazzled the Seminoles coaching staff with his rare blend of size, speed, and play-making capability. Ultimately, the marvelous physical attributes of the three-star in state athlete led the coaching staff to plug him in at corner, where he immediately made an impact, and displayed natural instincts lining up outside on the boundary. Despite suffering an agonizing hand injury as a true freshman, Xavier Rhodes was able to return to the gridiron, and displayed flashes of superstar potential. In 2010, he was named the Atlantic Coastal Conference Defensive Rookie of the Year, and followed that up with a stout sophomore campaign, creating a notable resume by covering the likes of Michael Floyd and Alshon Jeffery. Heading into a highly anticipated junior year, Xavier Rhodes received national praise as one of the most intimidating defenders in the entire nation.

 

TOOLS

Punching in at 6’1, 220 pounds, Xavier Rhodes is one of the most physically gifted corners in the entire draft. He possesses a jaw-dropping wingspan of 79 inches, and combines those freakishly long arms with an incredible 40.5 inch vertical. Rhodes certainly helped his draft stock at the combine in Indianapolis leaving scouts to marvel at his astonishing physical tools. He was able to fend off those critiquing his speed, putting up a tremendous 4.43 forty yard dash, which put him near the top of defensive backs. In addition, Rhodes was able to complete an impressive fourteen reps of 225 pounds in the bench press testing. An impressive landmark, when in comparison, highly touted Texas A&M Damontre Moore was only able to muster up a total of twelve repetitions. There is absolutely no questioning Rhodes athletic ability, as he boasts an unbelievable combination of rare size and speed.

 

PASS COVERAGE

It is impossible to analyze Xavier Rhodes’ game without noticing his physicality in coverage. Rhodes epitomizes the definition of press-corner, as he appears most comfortable lining up directly over the wide-out. His technique to disrupt the opposing wide receiver off the line with his powerful jab is truly remarkable, and is extremely developed for a collegiate corner. He effectively engages the opposition forcing them to re-route, and absolutely destroys the timing of the offensive play. Xavier showed pretty fluid rotation of his hips, as he was able to flip and break out of his cuts efficiently for a big corner. He plays a very down-hill type of game for a cornerback, as he loves to drive off the ball getting his pads on the receiver, often breaking up or altering the completion. One of the most incredible aspects of his game is when the football is in the air. The former wide-out displays an uncanny ability to track the football, and uses his elite leaping ability to jump up and attack the football in the air before the receiver can make a play on it. Xavier is definitely a bully in coverage, as he instigates the contact with the receiver, and dictates the path of that player with his elusive frame. In addition, Rhodes has the productivity to go along with his impressive play on the football field. He was able to rack up eight interceptions in his time, and limited opponents to a mere 6.9% rate of completion (according to Second Round Stats). In comparison, the consensus number one corner in the land Dee Milliner is not even close to Rhodes, as he compiled a 13.04% rate of completion in his career with the Crimson Tide.

 

RUN SUPPORT

The one glaring area of concern in Xavier Rhodes’ game is his lack of support in the run game. Xavier has notoriously taken brutal angles towards the ball carrier throughout his career with the Seminoles. He has been responsible for losing the edge of the defense multiple times, and his false steps into the backfield have backfired, leading to massive plays for the opposition on the ground.  A clear lack of desire to play the run is evident from Rhodes, as he rarely engages the ball carrier, and plays a passive role through the duration of the play. However, Xavier has taken massive steps forward from his sophomore campaign in regards to tackling. In 2011, Rhodes was extremely content with bouncing into the ball-carrier with a weak shoulder charge, and allowed the offensive player to gain an extra few crucial yards. He has improved upon this terrible habit, and has become technically sound in his ability to wrap up.

 

SCHEME VERSATILITY  

Regardless of Xavier Rhodes’ exceptional ability, he does have limited scheme versatility. In order to gain the maximum potential in his game, it is crucial that he is utilized in a press coverage scheme in the National Football League. He holds rare physical traits that allow him to physically engage wide-outs, and therefore must play in a scheme that maximizes his physicality in coverage. In regards to position versatility, Xavier does display the potential to possibly work at the free safety position in a pinch, due to his fantastic range and ball-hawking ability.

 

PROJECTED DRAFT POSITION

Top 25

 

TEAM FITS

San Diego Chargers (1.11)

Miami Dolphins (1.12)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1.13)

Indianapolis Colts (1.24)

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Scouting report by Kristian D’Ignazio of Pro Football Central | @kdignazio |